The Madness Underneath

Maureen Johnson. Putnam, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-25661-5
American-born Rory Deveaux—London schoolgirl by day, hunter of serial-killer ghosts by night—is back in the second installment in Johnson’s Shades of London series. Rory is still recovering from being stabbed by the Ripper ghost at the end of The Name of the Star, while trying to understand her newfound “destroying-the-dead-with-a-single-touch” ability. Despite Rory’s initial skittishness about returning to her London boarding school, she is thrilled to see old friends and her boyfriend, as well as reconnect with Stephen and the rest of the ghost-hunting arm of the London police force. A new murder is committed right off the bat, but the first half of the book is mainly about Rory’s therapy and trauma recovery. While this slows the narrative a tad, Rory’s internal monologue sparkles with the wit that Johnson’s fans (and most of Twitter) will recognize, which is plenty entertaining. The second half will satisfy readers’ craving for what they came for—Rory’s investigation of London’s latest ghost crimes—while laying tragic groundwork for the next book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kate Schafer Testerman, kt literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 02/26/2013
Genre: Children's
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